Cover Image: Pause


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Member Reviews

Pause by Elizabeth Caldwell offers an in-depth reflection of a psalm for each week of Lent, as well as for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. She capably explores the historical and theological meaning behind each of the psalms - giving a glimpse of the richness of the psalter. This Lenten book truly allows the reader to pause and reflect deeply on each psalm, and provides helpful spiritual exercises for each reading. Occasionally the author relies too much on commentaries from other authors, but this still demonstrates the fine research that went into this book.

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In the pages of "Pause" are very deep readings; these are not light-hearted devotions. Some of the readings were a little harder to read, for me personally -- only because you really have to dedicate your time, attention, and perspective to the material to truly grasp its message.

You may be pulling your Bible out to study the topics further. Plenty of scripture is provided in this book. It pulls scripture from many different versions of the Bible, so that you can visibly see the difference between the translations. Sometimes it helps in understanding the meanings of words in scripture to see the variations between multiple translations.

The chapters of "Pause" are to be read once per week of Lent, until the week of Easter. During Holy Week there are multiple chapters.

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I did not grow up observing the church calendar. It is a practice I came to later in life. I have fully embraced Advent, lighting the candles every night. And the march towards Epiphany, moving the camels every day when no one is watching. But if I observe Lent at all it is casually, even though I am aware there are Christians all over the world for whom Lent is a spiritually rich time and practice. I picked up Pause: Spending Lent with the Psalms by Elizabeth Caldwell in hopes it would enhance my own Lenten practice and I was also looking for a resource I could offer to my community. Thank you to the author, Westminster John Knox Press, and NetGalley for the eARC.

Pause is everything I want in a devotional. In fact, if I have any criticism at all it is that I want more. I would absolutely pick up devotional books for the rest of the church calendar from Caldwell. The format is simple and genius. The author starts with the Psalm traditionally associated with that week of Lent or day of Holy Week. The entire Psalm is presented so the reader understands the context of the portion read in church. Then a section is highlighted and several other translations are provided allowing the reader to dig deeper into the meaning of the passage. The Bible nerd in me loves the use of different translations and the easy to understand explanations of the original words. But how I truly learn is through story and Caldwell includes well-selected narratives to illustrate her points. This combination of academic understanding and personal recollections make the book easy to follow and digest while being challenging enough to be interesting.

The last portion of the book contains a leaders guide which is thorough enough to make organizing a group read and/or discussion effortless - a true gift.

If you are looking for a devotional for Lent, this one gets my stamp of approval. Did I disagree with one or two points? Of course. Did I learn something? Yes! Are there a handful of concepts I am still chewing on days later? Yes, and that is what makes this worth picking up.

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This is the best book if you are wanting to work on something for the Lenten season. You can work slowly through it, day by day, or work on it all at once. If you need a breathing time during the Lenten season, than this book is for you.

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